Film Review: “Till”

  • TILL
  • Starring:  Danielle Deadwyler, Frankie Faison and Jalyn Hall
  • Directed by:  Chinonye Chukwu
  • Rated:  PG 13
  • Running time:  2 hrs 10 mins
  • Orion Pictures
In August 1955, Emmet Till left his mother’s home in Chicago to visit his relatives in Mississippi.  He never saw his mother again.
We first meet Emmett (Hall), known as Bo to his family, as he prepares for his trip.  A friendly, smiling boy who loves music and impromptu dancing with his mother, Mamie – an Oscar-worthy Ms. Deadwyler.  As he packs for his trip, his mother reminds him that the rules in Mississippi are much different for Blacks then they are in Chicago.  Not that Chicago is a haven of equality.  We learn this when, while shopping for shoes at a downtown department store, Mamie is informed that they also sell shoes in the basement.  Still, with a self-assured smile, and a stylish hat, Emmett boards the train and begins the journey south.  He learns first-hand how different the rules are when, once the train crosses the Mason-Dixon line, all of the Black passengers get up from their various seats and make their way to the back of the car.
Emmett discovers a whole new way of life when he arrives in the small town of Money, Mississippi.  Instead of playing with his cousins, he finds himself in the field, picking cotton, taking the new adventure in stride.  A stop at a local store brings Emmett face to face with a white woman that Emmett finds so attractive he tells her she could be a movie star, emphasizing her beauty with an innocent wolf whistle.  His cousins are mortified by this and quickly spirit Emmett away, the boy still not understanding their reaction.  Tragically, he soon will.
An important film that tells an important story, “Till” is both heartbreaking and inspirational, filled with an amazing cast of actors.  As Mamie, Ms. Deadwyler is a revelation.  Whether dancing quietly with her only child, or grieving at the sight of Emmett’s broken body, there is not a false note in her performance.  Her grief is genuine, leaving not one dry eye in the house.  But Mamie also has a quiet strength – a strength that has taken her to where she is in her life – and she feeds off of that strength every time she needs to.  The supporting cast is just as good, with nary a false beat among them.  Director Chukwu’s camera makes us a witness to everything going on and the musical score, by Abel Korzeniowski, is pitch perfect in setting the necessary moods.
A film that takes an unflinching look at one of the most horrific times in this country’s history, “Till” is a tale of two worlds, 650 miles apart.  It is a film that needs to be seen by everyone!
“Till” receives five stars out of five.

Speak Your Mind

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *